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Restaurant owner. Electrician. Welder. Cook. Plumber. Carpenter. These are the titles newcomers in the Immigrants Working Centre’s new five-week WorkLINC program carry with them, many who came to Canada as refugees from Syria just months ago.

Fadi Al Kanakri has 12 years of experience as chef in Syria. The industry certifications are what intrigued him about WorkLINC. All within a week, he was certified in Health and Safety, WHIMIS and Food Handling.

He came into the program confident that he was ready to work in Canada. “I think I will find a job so quickly, I just need the keys,” he said. Fadi was right. Within weeks of graduating the program, he had an accepted job offer.

WorkLINC

WorkLINC participants simulate a mock interview to practice their workplace language vocabulary. / MICHELLE BOTH

 

Fadi Al Kanakri completes in-class assignments in the WorkLINC – Food Industry Program.

Fadi Al Kanakri [centre] completes in-class assignments in the WorkLINC Food Industry Program. With 12 years experience as a chef in Syria, Fadi found a job after graduating from the program.

A 2014 Workopolis study found that 68% of Canadian employers are finding it difficult or very difficult to find people with the right skillset that they need to hire. This program assists in bridging the labour gap between employers and newcomers to Canada.

WorkLINC has focused on preparing newcomers in Hamilton to work in the food, manufacturing and construction industries. Participants also have the opportunity to meet local employers, and take tours of workplace facilitates in their field.

For one group of manufacturing industry participants, this meant attending a tour of Interprovincial Corrosion Control, a Burlington-based company who manufactures materials used for pipelines around the globe.

A group of WorkLINC graduates attend a tour of Interprovincial Corrosion Control, a Burlington-based company who manufactures materials used for pipelines around the globe.

A group of WorkLINC graduates attend a tour of Interprovincial Corrosion Control, a Burlington-based company who manufactures materials  for pipelines around the globe.

 

“It really gives them a first time perspective of the work environment,” said Rosemary Aswani, Employment Specialist at the IWC. “They have been very impressed to see the organization of the companies.”

Colin Duncan, Food Services Manager at First Place Hamilton agrees. It’s important for newcomers “to be aware about employment expectations, cultural awareness and to know how important soft skills are to fit in a company team,” he said, after providing a group of program participants with a tour of their facilities.

The tours linked participants with potential employers and the opportunity to network and make connections in their field. Around 10 organizations invited groups to take tours of their workplace facilities including catering, construction, and manufacturing companies, as well as grocery stores and a food processing plant.

If you are interested in attending WorkLINC, register today by contacting Aseel at 905-529-5209 or admain@iwchamilton.ca. For more information on the WorkLINC website.

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